HIGHLAND | More than 100 volunteers weathered Sunday's storm warnings to support the troops as part of Operation Support Our Service Members' holiday packing event at Wicker Memorial Park.
"I was very impressed with the turnout despite the conditions," said Colleen Aguirre, Operation SOS president. "I'm always amazed to see the generosity and compassion our community has for our men and women defending our freedom."
Since 2007, Operation SOS has sent thousands of packages overseas. Some have included George Foreman grills, food, DVDs and more. This year's packing included Christmas trees and lights donated by Team Home Depot.
This year Operation SOS volunteer Cathy Kienzel had a special interest in the packing because her husband is overseas.
"I know how much receiving a care package from home can lift a soldier's spirit," she said. "It's incredible to see everyone come together to support our troops."
Schools from all over Lake County made cards and letters for the troops, and organizations such as Tri-Kappa Hammond, Eagle Riders Team Home Depot, Petro's Restaurant and American Veterans Motorcycle Riders Association Chapters 1 and 14 participated in the holiday packing.
SOS was started by a small group of people who were interested in sending care packages to troops overseas. The group formed a board and pursued its nonprofit status within two years. Members have participated in many fundraisers and worked with local business and community leaders to send packages to troops.